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Our documentary retreat is a transformational experience, designed to develop you personally and professionally.

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Retreat: About

A space just for you

We believe that in creating a space filled with equally driven and motivated documentary filmmakers that we will all benefit.

We want you to have time and energy away from day to day life to think about documentary, on a deeper level. What stories do you want to tell? How do you want to tell them? Is there anyone on this programme that you could team up with to make that happen?

Navigating the world against a backdrop of homophobic, sexist, racial and social injustice, we see you. We understand how important it is to be free to share, create and learn from each other in a purposeful space surrounded by an intergenerational community of like-minded people.

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What will I gain from attending?

  • Develop your ideas

  • Explore documentary storytelling

  • Build community with your peers

  • Connect with and learn from inspiring documentary industry leaders

  • Grow your knowledge and understanding of yourself as filmmaker

  • Stay motivated to create and practise wellbeing.

  • Increase self confidence

  • Have an adventure, in a beautiful location!

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What will the retreat involve?

The programme will include workshops, inspiring speakers, small group talks, pairs work, individual reflection time, creative development, wellbeing and some free time.

There is an emphasis on active engagement and participation - this is a space for sharing, learning and growth.

Somina ‘Mena’ Fombo will be your retreat host supported by a small team of brilliant facilitators.

Applications are now open, you’re just one click away from applying.

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Our time together

(sample itinerary - final itinerary will be shared with selected participants)

Sunday 27th February

After lunch arrivals

Programme opening and introductions

Authentic voices

Roundtable part 1

Creative free time


Guest speaker

Creative free time

Monday 28th February

Yoga/Walk (optional)
Storytelling part 1 & 2
Roundtable part 2
Creative development
Free time
Screening sharing of work
Evening activity (optional) / Free time

Tuesday 1st March

Yoga/Walk (optional)
Guest speaker
Finding Collaborators
Fill your soul
Programme close and departure

Retreat: Services

Key dates

  • Closing date for applications is by Midday 7th February 2022, midday

  • Shortlisting is on a rolling basis, all stage two applicants will be invited to join a 15 mins video call with final calls completed by Wednesday 9th February 2022

  • All successful applicants will be notified by Friday 11th February 2021

  • The Retreat midday Sunday 27th February - 4pm Tuesday 1st March 2022

  • Three virtual post Retreat Masterclasses will take place 6-7.15pm March 8th, 15th and 22nd

  • Industry lunchtime networking and showcase 12midday -1.15pm March 24th

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Key information

Where is the retreat taking place?

The retreat takes place on the outskirts of Bristol in a beautiful, quiet, rural location. Full details will be shared with successful applicants.


Rooms are allocated a single occupancy basis.

What will it cost me?

Taking part in the programme is FREE to you, thanks to support from BFI Doc Society Ripple Effect.

Please note that you may be charged if selected and you withdraw within 72hrs of the programme start, leaving us unable to fill your place.

Are travel costs covered?

Travel to and from the retreat is NOT included - BUT ff this creates a barrier please get in touch to discuss options.

However group transport from central Bristol can be arranged.

There is free onsite parking, bikes can be locked securely and there are some public transport links.

Taking time off work

Many employers are fully supportive of staff seeking their own training and development. If you are successful with your application we are happy to provide a letter to your employer validating the transferable benefits of participating.

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Who should apply?

  • Anyone interested in or making documentary

  • Producers, directors and self shooters

  • Those looking to move in any of the above roles, with some industry knowledge or experience eg. assistant producers, project managers, editors, career changers recent graduates / emerging self taught filmmakers

  • Those who enjoy learning in groups or with others

  • Those who are open minded, and interested in building / sharing with this community beyond the retreat.

  • Those aged 18+ (there is no upper age limit)

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The programme is open to women and non binary people of African & Caribbean Heritage aged 18+ based in the UK.

You must be able to attend the full retreat.

This is a positive action programme inline with the Equalities Act 2010

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Access & Inclusion

  • The venue is wheelchair accessible - please get in touch and we will be happy to send you the spec directly from the venue provider.

  • If you need to bring an interpreter or translator with you, we would be happy to cover their accommodation and meals - please get in touch we are happy to discuss options.

  • If you need to bring a personal support assistant - we would be happy to cover their accommodation and meals - please get in touch we are happy to discuss options.

  • There are plenty of quiet spaces at the venue if you need to take some time out.

  • There is also an option on the application form for you to tell us about additional needs that you need our support with.

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What about Covid?

This is a covid secure venue. Full details regarding the most up to date covid protocols will be issued to successful applicants prior to the retreat.

If you would like to know more before applying please email using the subject: Documentary Retreat.

Please note our team work p/t, 9-5pm - so please allow reasonable response times.

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